How To Get The Most From The GROW Coaching Model

Adding an F to the GROW coaching model (or GROWF as we like to call it) is the secret sauce to highly effective coaching

Making the switch from manager to coach

Being able to effectively coach your team members can be a profoundly rewarding experience. Helping people unlock what is already inside them to address a problem they’re facing is so much more impactful than simply telling them what you would do.

And in most cases, they are more likely to be successful with a plan of action they come up with vs a plan suggested by a manager. The level of buy-in to the action required is significantly increased when an individual has been empowered in the design stage too.

But the truth is, conducting a coaching style conversation doesn’t come naturally to most people, especially if you’ve been a manager for years and felt an expectation to have the answers to all your teams problems!

The GROW coaching model (or GROWF as we like to call it) is particularly suited to managers of teams that perform knowledge or serviced based work because it assumes the manager is not an expert in the individual’s problem or situation.

The GROW coaching model is versatile and can help shape your conversation in many situations - whether your helping your team member overcome a problem, achieve a life long goal, build a career trajectory, or learn a new skill, the GROW coaching model is your friend.

GROW is an acronym that stands for:

  • Goal                        Where you want to be?
  • Reality                   Where you are now?
  • Options                 What options you have to reach your goal?
  • Way forward      How you will get there?

1. Establish the Goal

Help your team member establish specifically what they would like to achieve. Using a goal framework will ensure a properly defined, high impact goal - whether you use an OKR approach or SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time bound) goals - the important point is to capture clarity over what success looks like.

Questions you might ask:

  • What would success look like?
  • How will you know you have achieved your goal?
  • How will you measure your progress?
  • When do you want to achieve it by?
  • Does this goal contribute to your career plan / team objectives / company direction?

Example: I’d like to run and finish the Sydney half-marathon in under 100 minutes.

2. Establish the Current Reality

After establishing the endgame, now is the time to encourage self-reflection to understand the starting point. A good manager will coach their team member to speak through their reality, as they go listening carefully for any assumptions and digging deeper to collectively agree if these assumptions are a perception or reality.

At this stage of the GROW coaching model it’s important to identify positives (no matter how small) in the current situation and avoid searching for problems.

Questions you might ask:

  • Have you tried this before?
  • What worked, what didn’t work?
  • Is anyone else involved? What roles do they play?
  • What is happening now?
  • What are your biggest fears in tackling this goal?
  • Describe the obstacles you might encounter?

Example: I’ve done a half-marathon before, but I haven’t run for quite some time. To be successful I’ll need to be consistent with training runs each week, but with work and family commitments I think it’s going to be hard to get time.

DOWNLOAD NOW: GROW Coaching Model Template

3. Exploring Options

Whilst it’s very tempting to skip this stage of the GROW coaching model and race to solution mode, take your time to go deeper and wider beyond than the first idea. Encourage creative thinking through brainstorming, probing and curious questsions - this is truly where the golden nuggets can be found..

Questions you might ask:

  • If you couldn’t do your first option, what else might you try?
  • Who will be your biggest supporters? How can they support you?
  • What advice would you offer to someone else tackling this issue?
  • Is there anything you can stop doing to free up time?
  • Can you combine this goal with something else you are working towards?
  • Can I be your accountability partner?

4. The Way Forward

Using all the insights from the previous stages of the GROW coaching model you can now come up with an action plan. Aim to identify the very next step and agree a plan that your team member feels excited about, and committed to making happen.

Questions you might ask:

  • What would your very next step look like?
  • Can you identify key milestones?
  • List the activities you will need to complete?
  • Who else needs to be involved?
  • What action will you take if you hit an obstacle?
  • How often should we review progress?

Example: My son is competing in a cross-country race in 2 months. I will join him on training runs and once completed he can join me on my shorter training runs. I’ll share my goal with my family and establish a routine for the longer runs where I get up earlier in the morning. I can go to bed earlier by watching less Netflix in the evening. I’ll work on increasing my distance first and then I’ll focus on increasing my pace per km to hit my 100 min goal.

5. Follow-up

Here’s the unofficial bit that you won’t find anywhere else and we believe it’s a critical component to making the GROW coaching model even more successful! Making the acronym GROWF, where as a coach you schedule a series of Follow-ups to check in with your team member between now and when their goal should be achieved.

These check-ins are an opportunity to ask if progress is ontrack and if any blockers are holding them back. Having someone check-in on a regular basis keeps the motivation going over extended periods of time.

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